Mississippi Kinship Navigator Needs Assessment & Feasibility Study

Assessing the feasibility of a kinship navigator program in Mississippi

Working with the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services (MDCPS), we studied the needs of kinship caregivers in Mississippi and evaluated the feasibility of implementing a kinship navigator program. Our research provided MDCPS with the information needed to select a Kinship Navigator program focused on meeting the needs of relative caregivers, while also addressing the federal Family First Prevention Services Act requirements.


Our study demonstrated that a Mississippi Kinship Navigator program is both needed and feasible. We described the core elements of an effective model specific to the cultural needs of Mississippi families—and that satisfies federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) requirements.

  • Situation Analysis
  • Needs Assessment
  • Kinship Program Review
  • Data Collection and Synthesis
  • Systems Design

Identifying local needs

Understanding local needs is a vital part of identifying an appropriate kinship intervention. To evaluate the needs of Mississippi kinship caregivers, we collected data through:

  • Focus groups with kinship caregivers across the state;
  • Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders; and
  • A statewide kinship caregiver needs assessment survey.

Identifying National Models

Our team performed a national review of existing kinship programs to compare navigator models and identify core service components for the Mississippi program. We evaluated 69 models from across the country and compared information about each program. From these findings, and those from our survey and focus group data, we developed recommendations that describe the core elements of an effective, FFPSA compliant kinship navigator model for Mississippi.

Feasibility Study

Using information from stakeholders, caregiver family focus groups and surveys, and extensive web-based searches, we evaluated the type and concentration of service providers throughout the state. We found that the existing array of services and supports in Mississippi contribute substantially to the feasibility of developing and implementing a Kinship Navigator program.

Program recommendations

The findings that emerged in our needs assessment and feasibility study indicated that the Mississippi Kinship navigator program should be family-driven, target informal kinship caregivers, and include professional care coordination and peer support as the primary intervention components.

We presented MDCPS with a recommended model, as well as three alternate models, which differed in their inclusion or exclusion of structured peer support networks and/or educational support groups. Each model was designed to leverage existing services and supports throughout the state, address core kinship caregiver needs, and meet FFPSA requirements.

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Recommended and Alternative Mississippi Kinship Navigator Program Models


Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services

Project Partner(s):

Families as Allies

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